Wednesday marks the would-be birthday of Anna Sewell, a 19th century English novelist who penned only one book throughout her 58 years of life: the beloved Black Beauty. Fortunately for Sewell, it was an outstanding one that became one of the best-selling books of all time with more than 50 million copies sold. Sewell died only five months after its publication, but she lived to see its initial success. In honor of her legacy, here are eight authors — Sewell included — who wrote only one novel in their lifetimes, but they were excellent ones.
Half a century ago, Lawrence of Arabia director David Lean released his other sweeping historical-epic masterpiece: The swooningly romantic Doctor Zhivago, based on Boris Pasternak’s wartime novel.
Here’s the thing about love stories for the ages: chemistry is kind of important. Make that supremely important. So any adaptation of Boris Pasternak’s 1957 Nobel Prize-winning novel hinges on whether Dr. Zhivago and Lara are visibly burning and longing and aching for one another. They are some of literature’s most beloved star-crossed lovers, each married to another, with a passion that endures through wars, imprisonment, and plenty of iced-vodka-cold Russian winters.
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